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I think sometimes Photoshop looses System focus when it should still have it, I find clicking on Photoshop Image window will sometime get the shortcuts working.
On Windows, you can usually hit the ESC key to refocus your cursor. Let us know if that works for you.
The File menu opening when pressing the F key is what we associate with Windows and the Alt key. Are there any common factors if this has been ongoing for 'a few years'? A wireless keyboard for instance? If you have a wireless keyboard does it have a wired option, oan you try another? I'd start with pointing devices if you have them. (keyboard, mouse, touchpad, tracker ball, etc.)
For now the only way to make them work again is still as I've stated before: "manually press the brush button, then right click and manually select any different brush. Shortcuts works..until they stop again and so on" + solution from JJMack do the same, after pressing on photoshop shorcut, shorcuts works again for some time (between 1h-4h, randomly).
I know that it's always some way but still it's a bit of distracting to doing that from time to time.
keyboard has a wire, tested also other keyboard same thing happens.
During this time I've been also upgrading some parts of my pc : cpu,gpu,motherboard,rams,hdds.
So I don't think hardware is an issue, because I had same problem earlier.
My guess is it's photoshop issue (since I've read that some people had similar problems, without any solution in the past) + maybe wacom.
I have the same issue. It has persisted through multiple versions of photoshop and multiple versions of wacom tablets. The shortcuts just stop working, so I usually click between tools/layers a few times and eventually they work again, but then they usually stop several more times during my work session. It's really annoying. I don't notice a pattern with them stopping, and this isn't an issue that pushing escape or alt fixes.
I've also been searching for a solution for a long time and although I can usually turn up people describing the same problem, there's never been anything in the responses that actually fixed the problem. One thing I see in common with people reporting the problem is the usage of wacom tablets. I have a wacom cintiq now, but had the same problem when I used the intuos 3. I've tried changing drivers and all sorts of wacom configurations but the problem persists.
Currently using Windows 7. Every piece of hardware I'm using now has changed since I first experienced this problem, including brands, so I don't think it's related to that.